Ruched or Gathered Side Panel on Athletic Tights or Leggings

Tutorial: Adding Side Ruching to the Super G Tights

Posted by Sharon Aguilar on

Today, I want to show you how you can easily make a ruched or gathered side panel on the Super G Tights pattern. I love a fun modification to a tried and true pattern. The Super G pattern fits like a glove and is such a staple for me in my fitness wardrobe. This fun little hack is a great way to add some variety in the ever-expanding stash of Super Gs in my closet!

Here is my modified Super G Tights (left) next to my inspiration photo (right).

The Super G pattern has two views: View A with no side seams and View B with a side panel and a large pocket on each side panel. We will be making View B. For fabric, you will need 2 yards of a light to medium weight athletic knit with at least 75% 4-way stretch. You do not want to use fabric that is thick or heavy like supplex for this modification because it will be too thick along your gathers. I used tactel for my tights in this tutorial.

Let's get started. You will want to print out your pattern in your measured size as normal. I am 5'2" so I used the 26 inch inseam on the pattern for my tights. The only pattern pieces you will need to adjust will be your Upper and Lower Pocket. We will be adding 2 inches of length every 2 inches. 

On the Lower Pocket pattern piece, start at the bottom of your pattern piece and draw a line every 2 inches. Stop drawing lines once you reach the line on the pattern piece that says "fold here." Your last line should be about 2 inches below the "fold here" line. Next, cut your pattern piece at each line you drew and add 2 inches of length between each line. I use scrap paper from when I cut out my pattern. I use a ruler and draw it out first to make sure my length is even before I tape the next piece on to the top.

Here is what my lower pocket pattern piece looks like on the bottom. 

Continue doing this all the way until you are at your last line, which should be 2 inches below the "fold here" line where you will fold it under to make a pocket bag. 

On the Upper Pocket pattern piece, you only need to draw one line, and you can add anywhere between 1-2 inches in length between the top of the pattern piece and where it says "Line up pocket here." I only added 1 inch because I did not want a lot of gathers at the top where my shirt would be covering it up. You may also choose not to add any length or gathers above your pocket at all. 

Next, take your front and back pattern pieces and mark each piece with a pen or pencil every 2 inches at the outseam (the side that will attach to the upper and lower pockets).

Cut out your fabric as directed in the pattern. Sew your lower pocket to your upper pocket as described on Step 10 in the pattern. Now, you will have one very long side panel. Don't forget to put a pin or clip your fabric to indicate where the top of your lower pocket goes on the upper pocket piece. Also, make sure that you have transferred your markings on the outseams of your front and back pieces and along your pocket pieces. When you are cutting your upper and lower pockets out, make sure that you make a mark with your chalk or erasable fabric marker onto every 4 inches beginning at the bottom. 

You are ready to gather! Everyone seems to have their own favorite way to gather. I know people who use their serger to gather. I also have seen it recommended to use elastic thread or to sew a zig zag over dental floss. My favorite method, and the one that I used for my tights, is to set my stitch length at the longest possible length for my machine (4.5), sew a long basting stitch, and pull my bobbin thread so that the material bunches up. Sew one basting stitch to gather your upper pocket. Sew another basting stitch to gather your lower pocket. Do not sew a basting stitch over the pocket bag.

Gather both the left and right sides of your lower pocket from top of your pocket (where the fabric fold starts) all the way to the bottom of your leggings. You will also gather the top of your upper pocket if you added length above the "line up pocket here" line. Make sure you are not gathering your pocket bag and are only gathering on the outer fabric. Also, you will not need to gather the bottom 5/8 inch because it will be folded under when you hem. 

Proceed to Step 11 on the pattern. Use the markings that you made on the outseam to make sure your gathers are even, making 4 inches of length on the side panel fit into every 2 inches of length on the back pattern piece. Use clips or pins and match all the points that you marked. This will take a few extra minutes but will be so worth all the even gathers that you will have on your finished leggings. Repeat for the other leg.

Proceed to Step 12. The same as step 12. Clip and pin all the marks you made on the outseam of the front to match the side panel. Repeat for the other leg.

Follow the rest of the steps as outlined in the pattern. When you are finished, post a pic of your tights in our Facebook group so that we can congratulate you on your beautiful Super G Tights.  

Thanks for following along with my tutorial today. If you have any questions, I would love to help.

You can purchase a copy of the Super G pattern here


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